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Service missionary with a smile: ‘Being able to serve on a daily basis is bringing him to a new level of being’


Elder Alex Murphy always wanted to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Now, despite physical and mental disabilities, he has become what is believed to be the first service missionary for the Church from New Zealand.

Elder Alex Murphy, a service missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is pictured in Hamilton, New Zealand, May 2022.

Elder Alex Murphy, a service missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is pictured in Hamilton, New Zealand, May 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Murphy’s family moved to the United States from New Zealand when he was 5 years old to obtain educational assistance for him and his sister, who also has special needs. This move made it difficult when Elder Murphy began to see his friends from Arizona leaving on missions.

Then in November 2018, the Church made changes to the recommendation process for prospective missionaries — including opportunities for those unable to serve proselyting missions to be considered for a service mission, allowing for accommodations depending on the individual’s circumstances.

As Alex Murphy began his mission papers, though, medical complications came up, slowing down the long-awaited process, reported the Church’s New Zealand Newsroom.

Eventually the Murphy family found themselves back in New Zealand. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit they were forced to close their business and planned to move to Utah. Heavenly Father seemed to have other plans, however, as the Murphys felt prompted to return to New Zealand, arriving a day before the border closed. There, service missions had not yet been established, forcing Elder Murphy to continue waiting.

Elder Alex Murphy likes to drive the John Deere “buggy” around Camp Tuhikaramea, in Temple View, New Zealand, while doing maintenance as part of his work as a service missionary, May 2022.

Elder Alex Murphy likes to drive the John Deere “buggy” around Camp Tuhikaramea, in Temple View, New Zealand, while doing maintenance as part of his work as a service missionary, May 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Murphy earlier this year was finally able to submit his mission papers, which brought a mission call soon after. The excitement continued when he discovered he would be serving for the next two years in New Zealand, exactly where he had hoped.

Elder Murphy now enjoys his new title and work. He serves in a variety of capacities such as at the Church’s Camp Tuhikaramea, which was developed by his great uncle. Here, Elder Murphy does maintenance and enjoys driving the “buggy” utility vehicle.

In addition, the New Zealand elder teaches early morning seminary alongside his mother, attends weekly classes for the institute of religion, sings in the Hamilton Interfaith Choir, takes piano lessons on his great-grandfather’s piano, has helped the St Vincent De Paul organization and his personal favorite: groundskeeping work at the Hamilton New Zealand Temple.

Of her son, Lizett Murphy said, “Throughout all the change and waiting, he has been positive and hopeful and feels that everything is good.” She continued: “We have seen a much happier, accomplished, full of purpose, independent Elder Murphy. Being able to serve on a daily basis is bringing him to a new level of being.”

Elder Alex Murphy works on the grounds of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple in May 2022.

Elder Alex Murphy works on the grounds of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple in May 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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